18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely authentic feeling adaption of the tragi-romance
This is a nice film, satisfying in so many ways, even if the sad conclusion is anything but, but that's the nature of romantic tragedy. This is Oliver Reed's finest film performance (apart from maybe Gladiator), and must be Ken Russell's best movie bar none. Good authentic adaption of DHL, a writer whose works often arouse strong emotions one way or another. In fact human...
Published on 16 Feb 2008 by Lou Knee
20 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For fans of the book
This is a film that now looks unfortunately dated but it still has something to offer fans of Lawrence. I had a love/hate relationship with the book and so was desperate to see the film. It gave me a better understanding of the characters and their motivations which, in the book, seemed quite unreal and strange at times but make more sense when you see them acted...
Published on 14 Dec 2004 by Crazy Punk
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely authentic feeling adaption of the tragi-romance,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)This is a nice film, satisfying in so many ways, even if the sad conclusion is anything but, but that's the nature of romantic tragedy. This is Oliver Reed's finest film performance (apart from maybe Gladiator), and must be Ken Russell's best movie bar none. Good authentic adaption of DHL, a writer whose works often arouse strong emotions one way or another. In fact human emotion is often the main focus of all his works, rather than the more overt themes of class, or raw passion. This film has a lovely period feel to it, is very intimate in its portrayal of the relationships between people with different personalities and feelings, and it distills the mood or essence of DHL perfectly, including clear undertones of misogyny. If you're prepared for a slightly more detached and arty kind of romantic drama then this film is for you. More emotionally engaging than it may look, with its emphasis on the visual rather than the dramatic, as always with Russell. But what saves this becoming a mere art piece is a great piece of acting from Jackson in particular, but also a deep and broodingly memorable performance by Reed, which was probably coaxed out of him by his great drinking partner, Russell.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Multi-faceted relationships,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)Ken Russell did us all a great service by trying to break the conventions of film-making. In this interpretation of love, he juggles the underlying emotions between the two couples with the essential love between the two men. The latter was not a homosexual love but a love of the spirit and the mind. The naked wrestling scene remains a piece of innovation in the cinema. The use of the weapon of jealousy is woven into the fabric of the character perpetrated by Jackson and endured by Reed. The final exchange between Bates and Linden remains for me, the epitome of love.
Author of `e-Love'.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb film that makes the recent BBC effort look amateurish,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)Watch five minutes of this classic British film and if you've ever read any D.H. Lawrence you'll sense his spirit at work. I was drawn to this after watching the perplexing recent TV adaptation on the BBC
Women in Love [DVD]
which attempts, one presumes not ambitiously but for the sake of economy, to amalgamate Women in Love with its prequel The Rainbow. There is a difference of attitude, I found as well, with the 21st century spotlight inclined to sneer (disbelieve) in Lawrence's ideas and to overplay the Rupert-was-a-homosexual perspective.
However we may live now, within half an hour I had concluded that this Oscar-winning film directed by Ken Russell was so immeasurably superior to the TV version as to make its production feeling totally pointless. The beauty of the locations and the romantic quest for sensuality and self-actualization, on the part of all four leading actors, is so vivid, the script better shaped to delineate those characters and the colour of mind and spirit which makes each so very unique.
In a way it can't help being coloured by the era of production, the 1960s. At times I felt they were living in the '60s, not after WW1 but the spirit of the '60s apparently has more in common with the 1920s than our hyper-post-ironical-modernism in the new millennium.
Alan Bates and Oliver Reed make much more plausible lovers than the recent chaps and the ladies here are more bewitchingly and passionately intriguing than the duo of Rosamund Pike and Rachael Stirling - attractive though they are. The film is full of unforgettable scenes: Hermione's dance of the widows, Gudrun spooking the cattle, the tableau of drowned lovers, Rupert and Gerald wrestling, Rupert running from the house and going feral, etc.
Visually stunning, winningly scripted and superbly cast.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ken Russell - In Memoriam 3rd July 1927 - 27th November 2011,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)Ken Russell was a maverick, wayward genius among film makers.
At times controversial, confrontational and willfully shocking
he, nonetheless, also possessed a deeply-rooted romantic spirit which
was quintessentially English to its very core. His 1962 film 'Elgar' and
'The Song Of Summer' (1968), about the deep friendship between the
composers Frederick Delius and Eric Fenby, demonstrated Mr Russell's
great love of music and his almost uncanny ability to marry sound and
images in a visually striking and deeply affecting way. There were a
few mishits along the road : his 1984 movie 'Crimes Of Passion' was a
bit of a stinker and his adaptation of The Who's "rock-opera" 'Tommy'
(1975) missed the inherent tenderness of the work by a mile and a half
with its gaudy and excessively sensationalist treatment but in as long
and distinguished career as his these anomalies are easily forgiven.
His 1969 account of D H Lawrence's great novel 'Women In Love' is
a masterpiece; one of the finest visual translations of a book I
have ever seen. Largely faithful to the narrative (notwithstanding
the inclusion of the poem 'Figs', sensually performed by Gerald
- Alan Bates firing on all six cylinders) Mr Russell demonstrates
a deep understanding of the motivation of Lawrence's characters.
The cinematography is ravishing throughout. The scene in which
Gerald stumbles deliriously off into the woods after being cracked
over the head with a paperweight for humiliating the grotesque
Hermione at one of her pretentious country weekend soirees is
spellbinding. So too the firelit billiard room wrestling match
between Rupert and Gerald (one of the first depictions of male
nudity in a British film, which raised more than a few eyebrows
at the time!) Mr Russell conjured some wonderful performances from
his cast : the headstrong Gudrun (Glenda Jackson, pregnant at the
time of filming and on cracking form); Jenny Linden an incandescent
Ursula and an earthy but vulnerable portrayal of Gerald by Oliver
Reed (surely his finest hour). It is an ensemble piece in every way.
The final intimate scene, following Gerald's suicide in The Alps,
between Rupert and Ursula is simply beautiful and terribly moving.
Mr Russell was a paragon of his craft. An iconoclast and a visionary.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant movie,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)This is a brilliant movie. I first saw this film when it came out around 1969. It has a fine cast Oliver Reed, Alan Bates, Glenda Jackson, and Jennie Linden. The film is based on the book by DH Lawrence and unlike a lot of movies that are based on books this movie tries to faithfully follow the original text and the original story.
The acting is wonderful and realistically acted by all four of the main players in the cast.
I would call this a period drama, and it is faithfully depicted in many ways.
There are some rather risque sceans in this movie that would not be suitable for younger members of the family to watch. However these parts of the movie were not put in the movie for sensationalism...as a matter of fact they made the movie more believable ! Sexual desire and passion are a part of life, and they are a big part of this movie.
It is a really enjoyable movie to watch. This is a DVD you will want to keep in your collection so that you can
blow the dust off it and then re-watch it. Personally I never tire of seeing this movie.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Birkin buys a chair,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)There is a nice scene in this most coherent of Ken Russell`s films in which the idealistic Birkin and his lover Ursula, the more biddable of the two Brangwen sisters, are browsing in a market, when Birkin impulsively buys a simple yet decorative and well-made upright chair, sits on it for a moment, then equally impulsively gives it away to a couple who look less well-off.
Alan Bates is Birkin, in one of his best-remembered performances - Bates was not only `Lawrentian man` to a T, but also `Hardy male`, his Mayor of Casterbridge being definitive - and golden-hued Jennie Linden plays Ursula in a beautifully pitched portrayal unjustifiably overshadowed by Glenda Jackson`s forthright Gudrun Brangwen.
For what it`s worth, Women In Love was nominated for a handful of Oscars, though Glenda was its only winner, for Best Actress. It is now hard to see why. Jackson could be the most brittle, metallic of actors, and even her similar win three years later for A Touch Of Class seems somewhat charitable. She could `do comedy` (as evidenced by her priceless Morecambe and Wise appearances) but it wasn`t her natural habitat. She`s excellent as the more hard-edged, less likable of the two sisters, but she far from eclipses her fellow actors.
Ken Russell arguably never made a better, more artistically successful feature film. The hand-picked casting must have helped. That and, as a recent interview with Jennie Linden (now Jennie Mann, a reflexologist living in the Home Counties - what a short story for Lawrence!) makes clear, the fact that the actors got on so well. It`s interesting to note that, of the four leads, Jackson was easily the least experienced in front of a camera, Linden, Bates and Oliver Reed having by then clocked up many film & TV appearances between them. Watching the film again recently, I was struck by how well it works overall, how true to the spirit of Lawrence`s masterpiece it is, and how sharp and vital the performances still look.
There are incidental delights too in some of the minor roles, such as an incisive Alan Webb as Reed`s irascible pit-owner father, and Vladek Shabel as the rodent-like artist they meet in the snows of the Swiss Alps. Eleanor Bron pops up in early scenes in a part she could have played in her sleep, that of Birkin`s pretentious, Bloomsburyesque partner Hermione - one of Lawrence`s waspish life-portraits - and Russell stalwart Christopher Gable is seen in a silent role as a naked party-goer who comes to a watery end.
But the real revelation, at least to me (even having seen WIL on its release in 1969) is the touching, subtle performance of Oliver Reed as Gerald Crich, a tense, tortured spirit who makes the all too fatal error of falling in love with Gudrun, who tortures him further until he can see only one way out...
Reed rarely bettered this. He had been effective in a few films in the 60s, and here and there he was to shine later on, for example as a Musketeer, but most happily in his swansong cameo in Gladiator, where he gives generous good value, appearing glad to be doing some `real acting` again after so many years of phoning in his parts. There is real depth and texture to his pivotal character in this drama
and one hopes the old reprobate knew it.
His notorious naked fireside wrestling scene with Alan Bates now looks bracing and even rather moving, not to mention deftly choreographed. I`ve seen far less realistic `real` fights in films.
The versatile Bates is also superb as the genial, mercurial Birkin, who yearns for a true (possibly sexual?) friendship with a man, but who has to be content with `mere` happiness with Ursula. The final quietly articulate scene between the two is as abruptly `right` as in the novel. Bates could coast through a role if carelessly cast or ill-directed, but he`s near-perfect here.
This was never by any means a flawless film. For example, the later snowbound scenes
threaten to topple over into a Dick Lester/Beatles-type travelogue-with-pratfalls, and there are moments when the ethereal `dance` interludes begin to outstay their dubious welcome. But I think this is an honourable attempt by Russell and a group of actors in their prime to do justice to Lawrence`s innovative book.
Golden-haired Jennie eventually retired from acting. Alan went on to great things, as well as a traumatic, tortuous private life, dying at 69. Glenda remained a star, still a strident, oddly unyielding actress, then after twenty years on stage and screen became a Labour MP and a fly in Blair`s greasy ointment.
Ollie died after one too many binges in a Maltese bar, at the sadly young age of 61, my exact age at the time of writing this.
DH Lawrence died in France having "spent his whole life living", in the words of his widow Frieda, at the age of 44. He wrote all the time. One day I pray his books return to fashion, as he is, I believe, one of the greatest of 20th century writers, awaiting redisovery.
Ken Russell died recently, aged 84. This film is as good a testament as any to the enthusiasm of his manic, wide-eyed talent.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cast; Great Adaptation,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)I remember seeing this film when it was first released in 1969, and purchasing the DVD took me right back to the musty smell of the old ABC in Nottingham. There are so many positives about this particular version: Ken Russell was more concerned with producing a quality movie than in his own self-publication; the lead actors all turn in performances that to my mind represent them at the peak of their powers; and the infrastructure of the settings, costumes, cinematography and soundtrack are all superbly constructed to build a truly memorable cinematic experience. The DVD quality is pretty good too, given the age of the original movie. If you like your DH Lawrence, and if you like your movies to be faithful to the book they are based on, then I would thoroughly recommend this to you.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie that made Ken Russell known to the world,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)If there is one British movie made in the sixties that people should see, it's definitely women in love. An adaptation of a great British novel by D H Lawrence, it is a story where two sisters, both with different personalities but with the same desire for love, live their respective relationships with the aristocrat Gerald Crich and Rupert Birkin, his best friend. Shot exactly like his documentaries for the BBC, Ken Russell shows his talent with the use of symbolism and, like a neo-realistic Italian movie, he manages to represent the life of the British society with an extremely seductive power. And with his excellent actors, who each gave some of the most incredible and passionate performances I ever saw in cinema, it is no wonder that Ken Russell became respected in mainstream cinema during the seventies. For if it hadn't been for this movie, none would have heard of his Music Lovers, of its amazing actors, and seen what is still considered controversial in a mainstream movie, which is full frontal male nudity, during a wrestling scene between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed.
Both a pioneer in the art of moviemaking and for british cinema, it was the beginning of Ken Russell's controversial, but fascinating career. And the first of his excellent adaptations of D H Lawrence's novels.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy The Region 1 release for Ken's commentary,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)The five stars is for the film, but the DVD itself only rates as a 3. The picture quality is superb and in the correct non-anamorphic ratio, but, as usual, British customers have been stuffed because the disc released in Britain has been shorn of the extras available on the American Region 1 disc. The British disc does not have the commentary by Ken Russell; it does not have the commentary by the screenwriter, Larry Kramer; and it does not have the excellent photo gallery containing many previously unpublished photographs from the set.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant sexy film,
This review is from: Women In Love [DVD]  (DVD)It was different to most films. The women are very sexy, and there are plenty of dramatic twists and turns to keep you entertained to the end. It is a 60's film, and has a style and pace which isn't reliant on constant frantic action, special effects and camera angles set so close in you can' t see properly whats happening, so common in films of today. Yes, I love this film and will no doubt watch it again as the mood takes me.
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Women In Love [DVD]  by Ken Russell (DVD - 2004)